The Floatation Tank: a Short Cut to Your Superpower? with Nick Dunin

The Floatation Tank: a Short Cut to Your Superpower? with Nick Dunin

This week’s guest on the 21st Century Creative Podcast is Nick Dunin, co-founder of Beyond Rest, a company that operates float centres in three Australian cities.

Nick Dunin

Nick is on a mission to help people get in touch with their best selves via floating. He’s also had a very unusual journey as an entrepreneur and he has a lot of interesting things to say about personal development, creativity and business.

I’ve been using floatation tanks for years, and I’ve found floating tremendously beneficial, for my personal and creative development, so I’m delighted to have Nick on the show to explain the what, why and how of floating for creatives.

Where can you float?

If you live in Perth, Melbourne or Brisbane, Australia, you can pop along to your local Beyond Rest float centre and Nick and his team will take good care of you.

I currently float at the Bristol Float Centre, where the staff are always friendly and helpful, if you’re in the area, I thoroughly recommend their service.

If you live somewhere else, Google ‘floatation tank’ plus the name of your town or city to find your nearest float centre.

Floatation tank at Beyond Rest

Take Nick’s Creative Challenge (and win a float session or a copy of The Book of Floating)

Every week, at the end of the show, I ask my guest to set you a Creative Challenge – something practical you can do that will help you put the ideas from the show into action.

The Coaching Habit cover shotHere’s how you can take part – and maybe win the prize of a copy of the classic introduction to floating by Michael Hutchison The Book of Floating.

Special prize for Australian listeners!

Nick has generously donated a special prize of a floatation session at one of the Beyond Rest centres – so if you can get to Perth, Melbourne or Brisbane, and you want to be entered in the draw for this special prize, just add the hashtag #specialprize at the end of your comment.

1. Listen to the interview part of the show, either in the player above or on iTunes or your favourite podcast platform.

2. The challenge is to take either 30 minutes during the day, or 60 minutes before you go to bed, and do nothing.

By which we mean:

  • not doing anything constructive or productive, so no kind of work
  • not consuming any kind of entertainment – no TV, phone, internet, books etc.
  • No conversation or interaction with other people
  • Going for a walk is fine, but no exercise more vigorous than this

In other words, just sit or walk or lie and be present to your experience in the moment. Yes, your mind will distract you, you’ll get fidgety and want to go do something, but resist the temptation and keep doing nothing.

3. Once you’ve completed the challenge, leave a comment below this post describing how you get on.

You have until midnight United States Pacific time on Friday 21st July 2017 to complete the challenge and leave your comment.

4. Once the challenge has finished, I will pick 3 winners at random from the comments, who will receive the prize of Michael Hutchsison’s The Book of Floating, and the Australian winner of the float session at Beyond Rest.

5. Over the weekend I will send a bonus recording with my feedback on your comments and what we can all learn from the challenge. I’ll be looking through the comments for common patterns, whether that’s ways a lot of you get stuck, or great solutions you’re finding to the challenge. I’ll also be sharing reflections and advice from my own experience of floating.

6. As usual the feedback recording will NOT be released on iTunes or anywhere else the show is syndicated. It will only be available via the 21st Century Creative mailing list – click here to join the list (and get a free Creative Career course).

One last thing…

If you’re enjoying the show it would be a huge help to me if you would take a moment to subscribe to The 21st Century Creative in iTunes.

And if you’d like to leave a brief review in iTunes, that would be even more helpful.

The more people who subscribe and review the show, the more visible the show will be in the iTunes store, and the more creators I can help with it.

This is particularly important in the first few weeks of a podcast – so if you enjoy the show, and you’d like to support it, taking a few moments to subscribe and/or review will give the podcast the best chance of success.

Thank you!

Mark McGuinness is a poet, a coach for creative professionals, and the host of The 21st Century Creative Podcast.

The 21st Century Creative Podcast

The 21st Century Creative Podcast

Hosted by poet and creative coach Mark McGuinness, The 21st Century Creative podcast helps you succeed as a creative professional amid the demands, distractions, and opportunities of the 21st century.

Each episode features insights from Mark and interviews with outstanding creators – including artists, writers, performers, commercial creatives, directors, producers, entrepreneurs and other creative thought leaders.

Guests include Steven Pressfield, Scott Belsky, Jocenlyn K. Glei, Joanna Penn and Michael Bungay Stanier.

Responses to this Post


  1. I’m in Australia and would love to win a Float at Beyond Rest.
    Seeking silence and being still almost always has unexpected results for me. Sometimes it takes the form of visions and solutions, sometimes it presents me with pain that just needs to be sat through and faced. I’ve been doing silent meditation 30 mins twice a day for almost a year now and I think it’s transformative. The important thing is not to expect anything particular, but overall it’s helped me discover what I’m here for and who I am, and given me confidence to write a book I have been resisting for some years (out of fear of others).
    Floatation tanks take that experience to a whole new level. Maybe it’s the magnesium, the detoxing properties, or the weightlessness but it accelerates and enhances my focus and ideation and also helps me release any baggage that has its tentacles in me. If I could, I’d Float every day.

  2. Thanks an interesting podcast.
    I wish I was in Australia! After listening to the podcast I looked in Paris where I live and there are indeed flotation tanks- so I will ty them at some stage in the future- it sounds great! So instead of floating I took the challenge of doing nothing for a half an hour.
    I have meditated before but at this stage I am so busy, I try to enter a meditative state when I am drawing or writing or playing music, a state of detachment. It is not always easy but that is often my goal: to be screaming in a rock band but inwardly to be calm and detached. It’s interesting when it works. This way you are more like a channel.
    So I did absolutely nothing for half an hour. Not having meditated for a long while my imagination was running off in about a zillion different directions, then there were thoughts of ‘I need to do this, I need to do that’. It was hard just sitting through all of this.
    I counted my breaths going in and out, filling up my body. I could let the voices and thoughts in my head get further and further away. I could feel my body getting heavier and heavier in the chair. I had my eyes closed and I could feel my hands so big. It was strange. My body got heavier and heavier. At the same time I got more and more tired. My head started to nod. I was on the edge of sleep.
    Then a voice called me: “Mr Smith? Mr Smith?” It was the plumber. The plumber is another story, but as I snapped out of it, I had thoughts about the person from Porlock, the interrruption…
    I tried to do another on the next day and I really felt tired because I had quite a bit of rosé at an aperitif the night before plus a busy day at work. Ahem.
    My head almost immediately started nodding, I was falling asleep. I had been doing nothing for ages! I looked at the watch: only 14 minutes. Hmmmm I thought as I lay down on the couch. Then I was seeing things, I’m sure I saw things but there was this annoying sound, which was stopping me from seeing them.
    Then my son was speaking to me, I had fallen totally asleep and the annoying sound was actually the buzzer of the timer on my phone. He asked me if I wanted to turn it off.
    I felt like I was coming to my senses after a nice refreshing nap.
    I will meditate again : I had forgotten how powerful it is. This weekend I’ll be meeting with a meditation group and I will ask them all about flotation tanks. And I’ll do some meditation of course too!

  3. Intention was to go for a walk, and sit quietly in the field. Without any back support, sitting too hard/painful so decided to walk on and sit in a seat by the next field.

    As I walked along saw tractor coming – panic! A sign has gone up on edge of field so I’m not sure if it’s ok to walk there – everybody else still does – sign probably just so walkers not able to claim a public right of way. Anyway didn’t want to get in trouble so ended up doubling back on myself till the coast was clear! 🙂

    Walk & field take 2 went much better! Initially sat in field, then lay down cloud watching. Struggled to keep eyes open so allowed them to shut for a while, then continued looking up at blue sky / cloud watching. Love looking up at the sky, love cloud watching, love lying in a field …bliss! 🙂

  4. A welcome podcast for me with no holiday in sight just yet.
    I’v been longing to be in a warm safe womb place for years, during sad and stressful times.
    So I will be going on my first float tomorrow, on a pier, on top of the North sea. I can’t think of a more extreme ‘never done that before’ moment for now. A real treat for my 2hours of writing every morning and heavy building works during the day. Super curious, i have to keep myself from expecting to much.

    The moment of doing nothing made me from grumpy and edgy into calm and even joyous.
    A good reminder!

  5. Another fantastic podcast, Mark… I listened to it twice, after realizing I needed to take a page from both yours and Nick’s experiences.

    The 30-minute daily challenge suited my lifestyle the best, as my better half needs to have a DVD (of Nero Wolfe as portrayed by Maury Chaykin) running in the background in order to go to sleep before bed.

    Having said that, on my first attempt, I struggled to “do nothing” as I propped myself on my cushy leather couch, I was fidgety…and felt downright guilty. The result: I couldn’t focus because I felt as though the world was judging me as I opted to do nothing, when there were things that I could be doing (and in my brain, lying about meant slacking off)…

    Attempt #2: I scheduled a 30-minute appointment with myself on my Google calendar, so that I made sure the time was blocked out. No one bothered me BUT I was still fidgety and felt like I was letting people down… The result: Another fail… I couldn’t seem to relax, even though email and phone alerted people I wasn’t available…I fussed my way through the half hour and wanted to claw my eyes out as I calculated all the things I could have been doing.

    Attempt #3: By this point, I was really mad…at myself. I scheduled yet another 30-minute appointment on my Google calendar, only this time, I realized I needed to have a focused intent, e.g. you can throw any crap you want onto your calendar but until you really commit to being focused, intentional and present about that time, you are never really going to be able to affect any change.

    I’ll be honest, no miracle occurred BUT once I accepted—and committed—to being there to focus, intently…on nothing…the real magic started to emerge… And once I was able to let go, I actually drummed up few solutions to the plot holes that had been plaguing me in my current novel. Mind you, they weren’t perfect fixes, but having that period of intentional focus allowed those ideas that hadn’t occurred to me to bubble up.

    At the end of the day, I can’t lie…I’m still impatient BUT I can also accept that solutions can (and will) emerge if my mind is open and my intentions are pure…

    On a sidenote: My significant other has a BIG birthday in September, and despite the fact he’s not a creative (and as an analytical, skeptical type, has no bones about it), he also realizes we both need a way to chill and gain clarity in our lives. Having said that, this podcast has inspired me to research flotation tanks in my area and schedule a his/hers day at a local float spa as a special gift…I think it could be game-changer, for both of us…#FingersCrossed I’ll keep you posted… Thank you!

  6. Thanks for the comments everyone, this week’s challenge is now closed.